Wednesday, October 22, 2014

An Overview of Career and Work-Related Resources at UTSC

A Series
Article #1: The AA & CC Website

Looking for resources both on campus and online, pertaining to the topics of job search and academics may be rather challenging. For this reason, I have compiled a list of resources that will help students throughout their academic journey here at the University of Toronto Scarborough. This post will be the beginning of a series that will examine quite a number of these resources in greater detail. I will list links to everything discussed at the end of the blog post.

I’ve always found it is easier to find something when you know what you are looking for. In terms of career research, it is important to have a general idea of the skills you want to develop, career paths that interest you, and the qualities you already have that make you suitable for this career. At the Academic Advising and Career Centre, there is a useful online tool called the Online Self Assessment.

Online Self-Assessment (ONSA)

This tool lets you choose your best qualities and skills, as opposed to a questionnaire that evaluates your skills based on your answers. It allows you to reflect on what skills are important to you, and whether or not you need to further develop these skills. It takes about twenty minutes to complete, and upon completion, it generates a comprehensive report that shows your skills, best personal qualities, work interests, and values. You can make an appointment at the Academic Advising and Career Centre to discuss your results with a career counselor also.

Now that you have some idea of the type of career you want to pursue or what fields of work you are interested in, you can research this further using the other resources available to students.

This website is an excellent resource for students who are looking for jobs or trying to improve their study skills. As the name implies, there are two main aspects of this website:


Trying to study smarter? The AA &CC offers peer coaching. Bring your course materials to AC321 Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 12pm – 2pm receive assistance with time management, effective note taking, and other study skills. For one-on-one help, make sure you visit the Career Learning Network at, and book an appointment one week in advance.


This section provides a variety of resources that can help students with research regarding employment. The “What Can I do With My Degree?” page lists potential jobs by program, skills relevant to the job, and has external links for further research. When you come across job titles that are appealing to you, you will start to get a better sense of what you want to do in the future.

For information about resumes, cover letters, and interviews, there are helpful pages on the AA &CC website. You can also sign up for the Resume Blitz on Career Learning Network, where you will have a 15-20 minute consultation with staff to improve your resume. These sessions take place in September, January and May. Be sure to have a printed copy of your resume.

Tip Sheets are also an important resource. There are tip sheets for a variety of academic and career related subjects. For example, there is an interesting one on procrastination, attributing the reason students procrastinate to fear of success. There is also a tip sheet on government work opportunities, which thoroughly explains the types of jobs available at the municipal, provincial, and federal branches of government.

Good luck on your midterms!

Links to pages discussed in blog post:
3.     AA & CC resources page:
4.     What Can I do With My Degree?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Getting the Job: Transferable Skills

A common concern for students, including myself, is employability. Do I have the right education, experiences and network for the job? Am I qualified enough for the position? What can I offer that a potential employer would want in an employee?

The answer should be the same for all of us: transferable skills. Transferable skills are any skills that have been learned in one role, such as an undergraduate student, and can then be taken and applied somewhere else, such as in the workplace. These skills are learned all throughout life from infancy into adulthood, but in my opinion they are specifically honed through student coursework.

If you're currently in the hunt for a job, you may be wondering which skills you should focus on to make yourself stand out. Here is a list of top 5 transferable skills that recruiters consistently look at in new graduate job candidates (as cited by the 2013 CACEE Recruitment Report):

  • Communication skills (verbal)
  • Teamwork skills
  • Analytical skills
  • Strong work ethic
  • Problem solving skills 

These skills breed well-rounded, job candidates that are able to take on a variety of roles. In a world where the economy urges that employees are able to easily and quickly adapt to changing roles on the daily, this can be very important to a hiring committee. These are words you want to bold on your resume and experiences that you want to highlight in your interview.

I think although students are aware of the value of these 5 core skills, we tend to undervalue the ways in which our courses have helped to develop these same key skills. For example, a chemistry student may have to take a practical (lab) portion where he/she would gain communication and teamwork skills cooperating with their lab partner; analytical skills observing and recording the experiment; problem solving skills while adapting to mistakes; and a strong work ethic ensuring that the experiment is carried out to completion no matter how many times the experiment goes wrong (and trust me, it happens a lot!). I am certain that these skills can be applied to any course or program of study here at UTSC in the same way.

Take a moment now to reflect on how your program of study relates to these important skills and how they connect to your employability as a student. You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself :)

If you'd like help developing your resume or preparing for your interview, be sure to come by the Academic Advising and Career Centre office, AC213, to talk to us about booking an appointment for a resume critique or mock interview!

Until next time,
Rajani Sellathurai

Monday, October 6, 2014

Midterm Season is Here


Fellow UTSCers, midterm season has begun!  I’m pretty sure many of you are extremely stressed out trying to complete last minute assignments and study for midterms at the same time.  If that is the case with you, not to worry as you are probably not the only one.   At a time of academic chaos, how can a student succeed?  Have no fear, follow the tips listed below, and I guarantee that you will be able to get through this midterm season with minimal confusion!

Organize your time:
Before you begin to study, be sure to write down a list of all the assignments that need to be completed, and exams that you need to study for.  After you have written a list, prioritize your list and make a schedule, allocating different times to the different tasks on your list.  By making a list and schedule, you will avoid forgetting any tasks and you will be able to use your time more wisely.

Find your study style:

Everyone has a different style of studying.  Some students prefer to study individually, and other students prefer to study in a group setting.  If you are the student who prefers to study on your own, you should definitely take advantage of the UTSC Library;  moreover the UTSC Library has 2 Silent Study Rooms for you to utilize.  On the other hand, if you are the student who prefers to study in a group setting, the UTSC Library also has Group Study Rooms which you can book in advance through the Intranet.  Whatever your style may be, ensure that you are studying most productively.

Get help if you need it:

At first, asking questions can be an extremely intimidating experience for students.  Believe me, I've been there.  Once you have the courage to ask questions, you will soon realize that the end result is very rewarding.  Often times, you are not the only one with the same questions, so don't hesitate!  Your grades are very important.  If you do not feel comfortable asking questions in class in front of your peers, be sure to find your professor and TA office hours, and pay them a visit when you have questions or need clarifications.  Your professors and TAs are there to help you!

There are also other ways to get help on campus aside from your Professors and TAs.  If you would like help with writing, feel free to visit the Writing Centre!  The Writing Centre offers a wide range of services from One-on-one Consultations, Workshops, On-line Writing Handouts, Writing Clinics, and Drop-in Hours. The Math and Statistics Learning Centre is also available for students who would like some extra help in various mathematics and statistics subjects.  For more information about the Writing Centre, or the Math and Statistics Learning Centre,  visit  

Take care of yourself:

Midterm season can be very stressful, however it is extremely important to stay healthy both physically and mentally.  After a productive study session, feel free to reward yourself with a study break; perhaps a short television break or chat with a friend for a few minutes.  Be sure to eat healthy and exercise as well.  While taking breaks, just ensure that you do not get carried away. 

I hope you found the above mentioned tips helpful.  Be sure to study smart this midterm season! 

Good Luck,

PS:  Feel free to visit the AA&CC website for more Academic and Study Skills Tip Sheets.  Also, visit to sign up for Academic & Study Skills Workshops held by AA&CC!  Don't miss out!

You are always welcome to come by the AA&CC office located at AC213 if you have any further questions or wish to schedule an appointment.